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Despite Tim Cook’s promise to “double down on secrecy,” there isn’t much mystery leading up to Apple’s 2013 iPad event. That’s why we even feel comfortable calling it the “iPad event,” despite the fact that Apple hasn’t said what press conference will be about. We might see some Mac or Apple TV–related news, but Apple’s tablet line will likely be the star of the show.
Apple’s announcements will begin at 10 a.m. P.T. (1 p.m. E.T.), and my colleagues Harry McCracken and Doug Aamoth will have live coverage. Until then, here’s some some rumors and speculation to snack on:
1. The iPad 5 will probably look different
The last time Apple changed the design of the iPad, for the third-generation model, it actually gained weight and thickness to make room for the Retina Display. Now it’s time for Apple to swing back the other way. For months, rumors have hinted at a thinner and lighter iPad 5, with narrower bezels that bring the design in line with Apple’s iPad Mini. Exact specs are harder to come by, but we’d expect to see Apple move to a 64-bit processor like the one inside the iPhone 5s.
2. The iPad Mini will probably have a Retina Display
This game of “will it or won’t it” has been going on since the first iPad Mini debuted a year ago, but it’s looking pretty likely with the Wall Street Journal reporting that a Retina Display iPad Mini is coming this year. If Apple can pull it off without adding weight or thickness, it’ll have a killer product for the small-tablet crowd.
3. There’s a tiny chance an Apple keyboard cover would stick it to Microsoft
On Twitter, some Apple watchers have been speculating about whether Apple might build a keyboard into the iPad’s Smart Cover accessories. Keyboards are already popular accessories for the iPad, and an integrated cover would be a nice way to stick it to Microsoft and its Surface tablets. What are the chances? A former Apple employee claims that the company has at least prototyped the idea, and the tagline for the event (“We still have a lot to cover”) lends a bit of intrigue.
4. The fingerprint sensor might pop up again
While Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor might make sense on the next-generation iPad, rumors conflict on whether it’s going to happen this year. Reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Touch ID is not coming to either the full-size iPad or the iPad Mini, but a couple of shady product shots from Ctechcn and 2014 News show Touch ID on the larger iPad. I think it makes sense for Apple to include Touch ID on its high-end iPad, especially as a selling point for businesses, but we’ll have to see.
5. New MacBook Pros will almost certainly make an appearance
Apple’s MacBook Airs have already been updated with the latest Intel processors, but the MacBook Pro line is still using 2012 chips. An update seems likely, considering the huge battery life gains that Intel’s 4th-generation Core processors provide.
6. We’ll probably get a release date for OS X Mavericks and that cylindrical Mac Pro
During the summer, Apple announced the next version of OS X, called Mavericks, along with a new tube-shaped Mac Pro, but the company didn’t announce specific release dates. Just speculating here, but I bet Apple will have a Mac-focused part of its keynote that talks about the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks.
7. Apple might leave its iPods alone
Shortly after Apple’s iPhone event last month, the company added a “space gray” color option to its iPod Touch, Nano and Shuffle line. This could be a hint that we won’t see any further changes to the iPod line this year. Apple revamped the iPod Touch and iPod Nano last year, and these products no longer appear to be on a yearly cycle.
8. Apple won’t talk about the iPod Classic, if it even survives
The iPod Classic is Apple’s most curious product. It’s had the same design since 2007, and hasn’t been upgraded in any way since 2009, when Apple crammed in 160 GB of storage. Every year, someone predicts that the iPod Classic will finally die, and every year, Apple keeps on selling it for an increasingly ridiculous $249. Will this year be different? Who knows, but we can at least assume Apple will keep treating the Classic like the black sheep of the family.
9. A new Apple TV might not be ready yet
Last month, the well-connected MG Siegler hinted at some kind of big Apple TV hardware refresh coming in October. Now he says this device — one with “some sort of newfangled control system” — is not ready yet, but we might still see an updated device with better specs. I’m still hoping for an Apple TV that plays games, using the new controller support in iOS 7, but it’s unclear whether that’ll happen soon.
10. Phil Schiller might tuck in his shirt
As noted by my editor Doug Aamoth, one thing you can always count on is Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, wearing a button-down in the blue-green-gray-tan spectrum. But I’m still trying to figure out what determines whether he tucks the shirt in or not. Here’s a running tally for the last couple of years:
Untucked: June 2012, September 2012, June 2013, September 2013
Tucked: June 2011, October 2011, January 2012, March 2012, October 2012
If it weren’t for June 2011, I’d have a theory about seasonality, as he seems to favor the no-tuck during those warmer late-spring and early-fall events. Maybe it was unseasonably cold out that one day. Someone (not me) should look into the historical weather data. Anyway, I’m betting on tucked this time, but maybe he’ll throw us a curveball and go for an unprecedented three untucks in a row.